Tuxedos and long gowns still predominate the red carpet evening screenings, but I saw a little bit of everything this year: women in pants suits, leggings and shawls; men in string ties and sports coats.
Perhaps the biggest change is in the increase in cell phones. There are so many cell phones it makes Los Angeles look deprived. Everyone has one and in spite of the announcement at the beginning of each screening to please refrain, I did not sit through a single movie where at least a half dozen didn’t start ringing. You might think the ringee would simply turn it off. No. Usually they answered, started talking as they got up and carried on a conversation as they none too subtly walked over the audience and up the aisles.
Still, one of the most amazing scenes I witnessed was a woman at a rather formal Carlton cocktail party, talking on her phone while she speared fruit slice after fruit slice from a large bowl with the same fork each time. My kids knew at the age of 5 never to double dip at a buffet table, but then again, I would hope they would also learn that cocktail parties are where you talk to people in person, not on the phone.
I consciously decided to try living without one and the first 24 hours of withdrawal were difficult I will admit. But then I got into it, secure in the knowledge that each time I heard a ringing – and the variety of rings is truly awe inspiring – it was not of me. All in all an incredibly liberating experience.
I think perhaps the biggest impact of the cell phones is that when people walk and talk – and I am not exaggerating when I say a full 50 per cent of the people walking on the sidewalks are talking on their phones – they are not looking at the ocean or at other people or the sights and sounds of Cannes. The end result is that there is a critical mass of people with a look of self-engaged concern on their faces that permeates the environment. Cannes has always had more than its share of self importance but this is ridiculous.
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